• Perry touts sale of state-backed biotech company

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — A private startup awarded more than $40 million in taxpayer dollars at Texas A&M University and sold to an international drug manufacturer will expand the state's influence on biotechnology, Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday. Kalon Biotherapeutics LLC was founded in 2011 by the A&M system and has received money from both the state's $3 billion cancer-fighting agency and a signature Perry fund that gives public dollars to high-risk tech startups. North Carolina-based Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies announced Thursday the completion of an acquisition that gives the company a 49 percent stake in Kalon for now with plans to acquire the rest of the company later.

  • Correction: Alaska Pipeline story

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — In a story Dec. 17 about the office of the federal coordinator for Alaska gas pipeline projects, The Associated Press, relying on information from a spokesman for U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski reported erroneously on proposed funding for the project. Murkowski was prepared to support an amendment for funding but the bill never came up in committee.

  • 2 in meningitis outbreak case to be released

    Updated: 9 hr ago

    BOSTON (AP) — Two men at the center of a 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people around the U.S. will be released from custody, pending their criminal trials, a federal judge in Boston ruled Thursday. U.S. Magistrate Jennifer Boal issued an electronic order saying that the U.S. attorney's office had "not met its burden" in requesting the detention of Barry Cadden and Glenn Chinn. Cadden is a co-founder of the now-shuttered New England Compounding Center; Chin was the Framingham-based company's supervisory pharmacist. The judge said she will set conditions for their release Friday. Cadden and Chin were among 14 people arrested Wednesday in a federal racketeering conspiracy that authorities say is the larg

  • Judge orders onetime billionaire, embattled real estate mogul Tim Blixseth jailed for contempt

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    BUTTE, Mont. (AP) — Judge orders onetime billionaire, embattled real estate mogul Tim Blixseth jailed for contempt.

  • Fed gives banks more time to sell risky holdings

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve is delaying by two years a requirement that U.S. banks sell off their riskiest investments such as stakes in private equity and hedge funds. Banks say they need more time to complete the sales. The sales are mandated by the Volcker Rule, approved in 2010 as part of a massive congressional overhaul of banking regulations known as the Dodd-Frank Act. It is intended to limit banks' riskiest trading bets that could implode at taxpayers' expense. These investments helped trigger the 2008 financial crisis. The Fed said Thursday that it plans to extend from July 2015 to July 2017 the deadline by which banks will have to sell their stakes. It had already granted one-year extensions.

  • Foxwoods hiring of convict challenged in court

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    MASHANTUCKET, Conn. (AP) — The felony conviction of a former Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation official should have kept him from receiving a management job at the tribe's Foxwoods Resort Casino, an attorney for another tribal member argued Thursday. The former tribal councilor, Steven Thomas, received the personnel position at the country's largest casino last December as he was awaiting sentencing for stealing $177,000 from the tribe. The tribe, which had labeled the federal prosecution an affront to its sovereignty, is now being forced to defend the hiring of a convict with close ties to tribal leadership.

  • New York Fashion Week booted out of Lincoln Center

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — C'est la vie, fashionistas. The city of New York and Lincoln Center are evicting the invitation-only, twice-yearly Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in a court spat over destroyed trees and displaced park benches. A judge Friday approved a pretrial settlement in a complaint brought by community groups. They objected to the onslaught of the fashion industry at Damrosch Park, a 2.4-acre stretch on the Upper West Side that is adjacent to and managed by Lincoln Center. The groups argued the insular nature of the fashion shows that draw top designers and hundreds of buyers, editors and journalists violate laws governing public use of the land.

  • Sony hacking fallout puts all companies on alert

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    ATLANTA (AP) — Companies across the globe are on high alert to tighten up network security to avoid being the next company brought to its knees by hackers like those that executed the dramatic cyberattack against Sony Pictures Entertainment. The hack, which a U.S. official has said investigators believe is linked to North Korea, culminated in the cancellation of a Sony film and ultimately could cost the movie studio hundreds of millions of dollars. That the hack included terrorist threats and was focused on causing major corporate damage, rather than on stealing customer information for fraud like in the breaches at Home Depot and Target, indicates a whole new frontier has emerged in cybersecurity. Suddenly every major company co

  • Plea hearing set for ex-manager in halal food case

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A former manager at an Iowa-based halal food supplier is expected to plead guilty as part of a federal criminal investigation into the company's exporting and marketing practices, according to court documents filed Thursday. Conspiracy charges filed against Philip G. Payne are the latest involving the Midamar Corp., which is accused of exporting beef products to countries such as Kuwait and United Arab Emirates that didn't meet halal standards as advertised. The founder of the Cedar Rapids-based company, 73-year-old William B. Aossey Jr., and his two sons who now direct it have pleaded not guilty to similar charges, as did the company and its halal certification organization, Islamic Services of Ameri

  • Oakland joins LA in banning circus elephant tool

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The circus will stop coming to Oakland in a few years after a tool used by elephant handlers was banned in the city. The Oakland City Council earlier this week unanimously approved an ordinance outlawing bullhooks. The instrument resembles a fireplace poker, with a sharp hook on one end that is used by trainers to control the animals. Oakland is now the second California city, after Los Angeles, to ban the use of a bullhooks. The circus will stop performing in Los Angeles in summer 2016 following the approval of its ban in the spring. The Oakland ban takes effect in 2017. "(That) will be the last time we will be in Oakland because we can't perform without the elephants," said Stephen Payne

  • 'Sorority Sisters' draws criticism, loses sponsors

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — VH1 says it's sticking with "Sorority Sisters" despite criticism of the reality show's depiction of black sorority members and the growing defection of commercial sponsors. There are no plans to change the 10-episode series that "seems to be connecting with its audience," the channel said in a statement late Wednesday. About 1.3 million people watched Monday's debut episode. The show drew protests even before airing, both when it was announced last summer and when a promotional video was released online. The video showcased typical reality show fireworks, with insults and tears among its cast of sorority members who graduated from Atlanta-area colleges.

  • NHL seeks to reduce its carbon footprint

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — The NHL has named Constellation as its preferred energy provider as the league seeks to offset its carbon footprint across all 30 team markets. Its goal is to reduce the NHL's environmental impact, and accelerate a greater movement toward a healthier planet. The NHL announced its partnership with Constellation, a leading competitive energy and services company, on Thursday. Constellation will work with the NHL to conduct energy efficiency analyses and recommend energy management strategies for the league's facilities. "Our partnership with Constellation advances our commitment to promoting responsible energy use by the NHL, including our teams, our venues and our fans," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman sa

  • Icahn promises Taj Mahal casino $20M to stay open

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Billionaire investor Carl Icahn pledged $20 million on Thursday to keep Atlantic City's Taj Mahal casino open indefinitely, eliminating a plan to shut it down Saturday. In a letter dated Thursday, Icahn promised Trump Entertainment Resorts that he would provide enough money to keep the casino open throughout bankruptcy proceedings. It had been scheduled to close at 6 a.m. Saturday. "Many people would still argue that it would be a better financial decision for me to let the Taj close and wait to see whether a global settlement can be reached," Icahn wrote to Trump Entertainment CEO Robert Griffin. "But I cannot be so callous as to let 3,000 hardworking people lose their jobs.

  • Dow industrials have their best day in three years

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — The Dow Jones industrial average had its biggest surge in three years Thursday, its second straight triple-digit gain following the Federal Reserve's reassurance that it was in no hurry to raise interest rates. Bullish earnings from technology giant Oracle also drove the rally, which has helped stocks erase an early-December slump. Industrial and health care stocks also logged big gains. Even the energy sector advanced, despite another drop in the price of oil. Fed Chair Janet Yellen said Wednesday that she foresaw no rate hike in the first quarter of 2015. The comments eased concerns that policymakers would start raising interest rates at a time when growth outside the U.S. appears to be flagging.

  • Files of more than 40,000 federal workers breached

    Updated: 10 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The computer files of more than 40,000 federal workers may have been compromised by a cyberattack at federal contractor KeyPoint Government Solutions, the second breach this year at a major firm handling national security background investigations of workers at federal agencies, the government confirmed Thursday. Concerned that some data might have been exposed, the Office of Personnel Management has begun notifying workers that their files were in jeopardy. Nathalie Arriola, speaking for the personnel office, said it will offer credit monitoring at no cost to those affected by the breach.

  • Nike says strong demand drives 2Q beat

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) — Nike Inc. says strong consumer demand helped boost its second-quarter revenue and profit. The athletic shoe and clothing company reported late Thursday that it earned $655 million, or 74 cents per share, for the period that ended Nov. 30. That's up 23 percent from the $534 million, or 59 cents per share, earned last year. Revenue jumped 15 percent to $7.38 billion from $6.43 billion. Nike's profit got a boost from the strong sales growth, improved margins and fewer outstanding shares. The results topped Wall Street expectations. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research were anticipating earnings of 70 cents per share on revenue of $7.16 billion.

  • IRS head says budget cuts could delay tax refunds

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Budget cuts at the IRS could delay tax refunds, reduce taxpayer services and hurt enforcement efforts, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said Thursday. About half the people who call the IRS for assistance this filing season won't be able to get through to a person, Koskinen said. Once tax returns are filed, there will be fewer agents to audit them. "Everybody's return will get processed," Koskinen told reporters. "But people have gotten very used to being able to file their return and quickly getting a refund. This year we may not have the resources, the people to provide refunds as quickly as we have in the past." In recent years, the IRS says it was able to issue most tax refunds within 21 days, if t

  • A look at Michigan road funding plan

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    Here is a look at a $1.6 billion road and school funding deal brokered by Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative leaders. The fate of the tax hike will rest entirely with voters if approved by lawmakers on Thursday: ___ BALLOT In May, voters would be asked to increase the state's 6 percent sales and uses tax to 7 percent and eliminate the sales tax on motor fuel, generating a net $588 million — mainly for $300 million for schools (the equivalent of $200 per pupil) and nearly $100 million for local governments. The plan also would bar the Legislature from spending School Aid Fund revenue on public universities, an issue for Democrats who feel the fund mainly dedicated for K-12 schools has been "raided" in recent years.

  • Timeline of the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    It's been four weeks since hackers calling themselves Guardians of Peace began their cyberterrorism campaign against Sony Pictures Entertainment. In that time thousands of executive emails and other documents have been posted online, employees and their families were threatened, and unreleased films were stolen and made available for illegal download. The hackers then escalated this week to threatening 9/11-like attacks against movie theaters scheduled to show the Sony film "The Interview." That fanned security fears nationwide and resulted in the four top U.S. theater chains pulling the film from their screens, ultimately driving Sony to cancel the film's release. Here's a look at key developments in the hack: Nov.

  • Lyft gets Pennsylvania regulatory nod, not Philly

    Updated: 11 hr ago

    HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Ride-sharing service Lyft received regulatory approval Thursday to operate for two years everywhere in Pennsylvania except for Philadelphia, giving it 30 days to accept conditions required by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. The utility commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the company's application. The conditions offered to Lyft were identical to those offered recently to competitor Uber, an agency spokeswoman said. Lyft has until Jan. 20 to accept them, while Uber has until Jan. 5, spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher said. If the San Francisco-based companies reject the conditions, they will be banned from Pennsylvania, Kocher said.